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David Jacoby

By: David Jacoby on March 6th, 2012

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Three Territory Management Time Wasters to Avoid

Sales Process


In our current slow growth, budget constrained economy, sales teams have to do more with less. Quotas keep going up, while selling resources don’t.  A simple but powerful method to improve sales performance is to assess how effective your sales reps are at sales territory management, and specifically, managing their time. Many factors that influence sales results are outside of the sales reps control, but time is the one variable that sales reps have maximum influence over, and here are three common time wasters to avoid.


#1 Spending Too Much Time on Non-Sales Activities

When we analyze how sales reps at many sales organizations typically spend their day, we routinely see two major time wasters. First, sales reps spend too much time on non-sales activities during prime selling hours. This problem can be best fixed by frontline sales managers actively managing the behaviors of their sales reps.


#2 Spending Too Much Time with The Wrong Accounts

The other big time waster is that reps often spend too much time with the wrong accounts. This can manifest itself at the top of the sales funnel during prospecting. While we have previously blogged on how to improve prospect targeting, it is worth mentioning again that poor prospect targeting has a ripple effect throughout the entire sales process: (1) calling on the wrong prospects, (2) results in meetings with the wrong prospects, (3) which in turn results in proposals to the wrong prospects etc. The net effect of all of this is a significant amount of wasted time.


#3 Spending Too Much Time with The Wrong Existing Accounts

This problem can also occur at the other end of the sales funnel: spending too much time with the wrong existing accounts. Research shows that in any given territory,

  • the top 15% of the total accounts produce 65% of total sales – let’s call these accounts “A” Accounts;
  • the next 20% of the total accounts produce only 15% of total sales—let’s call these accounts “B” Accounts; and
  • the bottom 65% of the total accounts produce only 15% of total sales—these are “C” Accounts.

Without a systematic approach to allocating time to existing accounts, sales reps are likely to spend too much with their “C” Accounts. We have all seen this before, a rep spending too much time with an account that has limited upside (i.e., a C Account). Maybe the sales rep has a great relationship at the C Account, or maybe there isn’t much competition. Whatever the reason, this is a key driver of wasted time for many sales reps.

The key factor to consider in efficiently allocating time with existing accounts is to always consider the expected yield of each account.

So here is a simple three step system for allocating time with existing accounts:

  1. Determine the expected value of each account – how much can the sales rep reasonably expect to sell to an existing account over the next time period.
  2. Categorize accounts according to yield (“A” Accounts, “B” Accounts, and “C” Accounts).
  3. Finally, Allocate call frequency according to yield. A simple and intuitive way of doing this is determine how much time a sales rep should spend calling on existing accounts (as opposed to prospecting) and then allocate this time as follows:
    • “A” Accounts – reps should spend 65% of their time with these accounts
    • “B” Accounts – reps should spend 20% of their time with these accounts
    • “C” Accounts—reps should spend 15% of their time with these accounts

By utilizing this straightforward system, your sales reps will spend more time calling on their “A” Accounts and not waste time on their “C” Accounts.

There are many ways a sales leader can improve the sales performance of his/her team. A great (and no cost) starting point is to make sure your sales reps are managing their time efficiently.


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About David Jacoby

As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.